Kayaking Blue Springs State Park is one of Florida's most exciting and captivating kayak tours. Blue Springs is the Florida manatee winter sanctuary and temporary home for the Florida manatees in the winter months, and what better way to enjoy these magnificent animals than with a kayaking tour. Step outside and enjoy a relaxing, informative and slow paced manatee tour in this little wildlife paradise. Sit back and relish in the natural splendor, as your friendly University of Florida master naturalist guide enlightens you about some of Florida's amazing wildlife, and the unique history of Blue Springs. Our guides will also take pictures of you and your experience, for lasting memories of your adventure. If your visiting Orlando, Blue Springs State Park is about forty five minutes from the Orlando metropolitan area.
Our Blue Springs kayak tour meanders up the beautiful Snake Creek, which is part of the St Johns River Watershed, and part of Hontoon Island State Park. Our kayak tours paddles through two amazing Florida State Parks and the beauty of this area is home to a wide range of Florida native wildlife, as well as some migrating visitors. Manatees, alligators, turkeys, deer, bald eagles, owls and vast array of epic marsh birds can all be seen here. So what are you waiting for? Join us on an amazing kayak wildlife tour in blue springs state park today!
We offer these kayaking adventures as public group or private kayak tour. The prime prime time manatee migration season, is usually Nov 15 through March 15 with chances to see hundreds of manatees, pending the cool weather. In the spring and summer months, there are a few resident manatees, however there is no guarantee to see them. Wildlife that may be seen is alligators, otters, turkeys, deer, bald eagles, and vast array of epic water birds. The spring is open to kayaks in the spring and summer, and pumps out up to 101 million gallons of crystal clear water a day. Your guide will explain the different species of fish and the delicate Eco system as well as some very cool steam boat history of the park.
Blue Springs State Park is located at 2100 W French Ave. Orange City Fl. 32763. We offer tandem and solo kayaks for this tour. This is a family friendly kayak tour. Although we perform a short paddle clinic before each tour, we do recommend that you have previous experience in a kayak at least one time. Kids 5-15 years old must ride in a tandem kayak with a parent. Sorry, because of the distance and safety…no kids under 5.
Public Blue Springs Kayaking Tours Price: $75.OO per person. We offer solo & tandem kayaks for this adventure. This is a public tour and we require a minimum of 6 people total to go out. If you have less than four 6 people in your group, you may still reserve. In the rare event the minimum number of reservations is not met, you will be notified 24 hours prior to your tour time, at which time you have the option to reschedule or a full refund. Our guides are great, please don't forget them! Gratuity is not included in the price. Just let us know at the end of the tour if you would like to add a tip to your credit card.
Kayak Tour Time: 9:30 a.m. daily through the winter migration season.. The mornings are a much more pleasant experience, much quieter and we see much more wildlife. Prime time for the manatee migration is Dec. through Feb. cold days are the best time to see hundreds of manatees if the water is below 68 degrees in the river. Keep in mind, on warmer days in the winter there is no guarantee to see manatees.
Kayak Tour Location: Meet us in the inside the State Park at the Riverside pavilion next to the bathrooms near the kayak launch. We will be wearing royal blue Columbia shirts. Look for the paddles. We are not part of the park concession. You will receive detailed instructions on your confirmation email.
Paddle Distance: About 1.5 - 2 miles
Paddle Duration:3 hours
Equipment: We offer solo and tandems kayak for this adventure. We use perception sit on top kayak with integrated seats, which are very comfortable for your lower back. We also use lightweight carbon fiber paddles that are easy on your shoulders.
What to Bring: Wet shoes or shoes that can get wet, hat, sunblock, snacks, change of clothes and camera, water. We will take pictures of your adventure.
Lunch: Bring a lunch and explore the beautiful state park after the tour. There is a long boardwalk that runs along the springs so you can view the manatees. Bring your camera!
Tour Includes: kayak, PFD, paddle, dry bag, and a friendly, professional UF naturalist kayak guide equipped with a camera to capture lasting memories. Kids under 15, must ride in a tandem kayak with an adult.
Private Kayak Tour Price:$85.00 per person. Five person minimum Charge.
Our guides are great, please remember them. Gratuity is not included in the price.
Reservations for this tour must be made and pre paid 24 hours in advance online. OR by phone 904-315-8442. Credit card is required. Must be 18 yrs old or accompanied by an adult. Kids under 5-15 years old must ride in a tandem kayak with an adult. We require a 24 hour cancellation notice for any and all refunds.
Reservations are non refundable without a 24 hour cancellation notice.
Any and all cancellations by Kayak Florida due to weather or for any reason, the customer will receive a full refund of all charges. You will be notified by phone of weather updates and in the event of a cancellation of this tour.BOOK NOW
Kayaking Blue Springs State Park is one of Florida's most exciting and captivating kayak tours. Kayaking along the spring run and the amazing St. Johns River, elevates one's senses and brings awareness of the areas raw natural beauty. The spring can pump up to 102 million gallons of crystal clear water a day. Kayaking down some the small tributaries off the St. Johns River, gives you a true feeling of old Florida, with wildlife at almost every turn. The huge cypress trees drape over the forest wetland, as if they were standing guard over all the abundant life beneath them. Kayaking Blue Springs can bring a blissful calm to the soul, and a peaceful awareness of the simplistic elegance of nature. Relax & Enjoy!
Greg Braswell - Florida Native, UF Master Naturalist, Owner/Guide - Kayak Florida & Kayak St Augustine
Blue Springs is rich in history. Blue Springs was visited by botanist John Bartram in 1776. John Bartram is an early American botanist and explorer. He is called the father of botany. He is also the father of William Bartram, a famous naturalist, botanist and explorer. John sketched and wrote about the flora and fauna of Florida and the St Johns River.In 1856, a New Yorker by the name Louis Thursby bought Blue Springs and moved his family down to a small wooden shack, and started an orang growing business. A few years later he built a large plantation style home on top of a Indian midden, which still stands on the property today. Thursby's Blue Springs Landing was a hot spot for steam boat activity, shipping goods and tourists back and forth to Jacksonville on the St Johns River.
In 1880 the railroad came in and eventually the steam boats became a thing of the past. In the 1890's a killing freeze occurred, wiping out the citrus grove pushing the industry further south. Thursby and his family switched his focus to the tourist trade, and took advantage of the beautiful spring and excellent hunting and fishing opportunities along the St Johns River.
In 1971 a famous French marine biologist by the name of Jacques Cousteau filmed a documentary about the manatees of Blue Springs for an episode of a very popular program on TV called the Under Water World of Jacques Cousteau. The episode was called the forgotten mermaids. The documentary highlighted the Florida manatees and the importance of Blue Springs as the manatees winter refuge. Bringing attention to Blue Springs sparked the Florida department of environmental protection to purchased the land one year later in 1972, and begin the manatee protection program.
The Saint Johns River is the longest river in Florida. The river is 310 miles long and begins south in Indian River county, and flows north to Mayport in Jacksonville, where is dumps into the Atlantic Ocean. It's been called the lazy river because it flows at a rate of 3 mph. There is only 30 ft. difference in elevation between the headwaters and the mouth of the river, Blue Springs is the largest spring on the St Johns River.
The Florida manatee is a threatend species and is protected by federal and state law. Please avoid disturbing or harassing manatees whenever you discover that manatees are in the water near you. Harassment is defined as any activity that alters the animal's natural behavior. By altering the manatee's natural behavior, you may create the likelihood of danger that is bad for the animal and against the law.
Look, but don't touch. Please don't feed manatees or give them water. If manatees become accustomed to being around humans, it can alter their behavior in the wild, perhaps causing them to lose their natural fear of boats and people, which may make them more susceptible to injury or death. . Do not pursue or chase a manatee if you see one while you are paddling, swimming, snorkeling, diving, or operating a boat. Never poke, prod or stab a manatee with your hands, feet or any object. If a manatee avoids you, do not chase the animal for a closer view. Give manatees space to move. Avoid isolating or singling out an individual manatee from its group and do not separate a cow and her calf. Keep hands and objects to yourself. Don't attempt to snag, hook, hold, grab, pinch, hit or ride a manatee.